NIH Pharmacogenetics Research Network Announces New Members

Release Date:
Alison Davis, NIGMS

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) welcomes four new members to the NIH Pharmacogenetics Research Network and Knowledge Base. NIGMS has also extended the funding of one existing Network investigator after successful completion of a 1-year pilot project. Another NIH component, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), has funded three of the five new awards.

The nationwide research effort, established in April 2000, aims to understand how a person's genetic make-up determines the way a medicine works in his or her body. The interactive research network of investigators stores data in a shared information library, called PharmGKB (, which is freely accessible to the scientific community. To protect participants' privacy, names and other identifying information are not stored in this library.

In addition to NIGMS, other NIH components funding the pharmacogenetics research network awards are the National Cancer Institute; NHLBI; the National Human Genome Research Institute; the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; and the National Library of Medicine.

Five new awards, totaling $10.6 million for the first year of funding, have been made to:

  • University of California, Berkeley/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Ronald M. Krauss, M.D., principal investigator)--$2.5 million provided by NHLBI to study how genetic variation affects peoples' responses to drugs currently used to reduce risk for certain types of heart disease, such as elevated cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

  • University of California, Los Angeles (Julio Licinio, M.D., principal investigator)--$0.6 million provided by NIGMS to expand on a 1-year pilot study designed to evaluate the role of gene variation in Mexican-Americans' responses to antidepressant medicines.

  • Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. (Howard L. McLeod, Pharm. D., principal investigator)--$1.8 million provided by NIGMS to study how variation in genes between people can produce different responses to medicines used to treat stomach and intestinal cancers, which are often fatal.

  • University of California, San Diego (Daniel T. O'Connor, M.D., principal investigator)--$2.9 million provided by NHLBI to measure the distribution of certain heart medications in defined body areas, such as the lungs, kidneys, forearm, and hand, and then determine whether regional effects of the drugs in these body areas correlate with particular gene variations.

  • Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. (Dan M. Roden, M.D., principal investigator)--$2.8 million provided by NHLBI to find genes that play a role in determining peoples' variable responses to drugs used to treat potentially fatal heart rhythm problems know as arrhythmias.

For more information on the NHLBI-funded awards, contact the NHLBI Communications Office at 301-496-4236.